doi: 10.1037/a0033219, Valentino, K. (2011). Cognitive vulnerability in patients with bipolar disorder. doi: 10.3758/BF03197278, Keywords: autobiographical memory, memory specificity, memory coherence, self, Self-Memory System, Citation: Vanderveren E, Bijttebier P and Hermans D (2017) The Importance of Memory Specificity and Memory Coherence for the Self: Linking Two Characteristics of Autobiographical Memory. When you think about a memory, you are probably thinking of autobiographical memory. On the other extreme is severely deficient autobiographical memory where a person cannot relive memories from their lives, although this does not affect their everyday functioning.[55][56]. 30, 467–472. Attach. 95, 144–149. Happy involuntary memories were also more than twice as frequent as unhappy involuntary memories. General events are more specific than lifetime periods and are composed of clusters of repeated events or sequences of related events that share a certain theme (e.g., driving to class in the mornings). Memory specificity, as well as chronological and contextual coherence, are largely developed by middle childhood (Gathercole, 1998; O’Carroll et al., 2006; Reese et al., 2011). Through the process of autobiographical reasoning (i.e., interpreting, evaluating, and integrating different specific personal experiences that are believed to be significant to understand who one is), single narratives will be connected and integrated into an overall life story (Habermas and Bluck, 2000; Habermas and de Silveira, 2008). Speaking silence: the social construction of voice and silence in cultural and autobiographical narratives. People often re-experience visual images when remembering events. J. Abnorm. Lang. 104, 585–591. In addition to their specificity, autobiographical memories also differ in their overall internal structure, i.e., memory coherence. Knowledge from 30 years of research on memory specificity could offer insights in the study of memory coherence (e.g., the work on the dynamics between autobiography and psychopathology, the work on training autobiographical memory specificity as a treatment protocol for depression). Together they form a network of memories called autobiographical memory, which contains personal information that make up a person’s unique life story (Fivush et al., 2011). J. Behav. We Are Our … It's a very rare kind of memory that makes one unable to forget any day of their life. Different processes can influence this search and contribute to the development of overgeneral memory (Williams et al., 2007). The association between memory coherence and PTSD has also been topic of intense debate over the past few years (see Brewin, 2016; Rubin et al., 2016a,b). The hippocampus functions to create a seamless … In the Self-Memory System of Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, the self is represented by three separate constructs that interact with each other: the working self, the conceptual self and the long-term self (see Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, 2000; Conway et al., 2004). Merrill Palmer Q. [53], Autobiographical memory may differ greatly between individuals. A qualitative investigation of the organization of traumatic memories. By creating coherent narratives about past experiences we can create meaning. It is possible that the same applies to memory coherence, which could potentially resolve the inconsistencies we pointed out earlier. In fact, different aspects of autobiographical memory seem to be the product of a reconstructive process that underlies an individual’s emotional and motivational functioning. Autobiographical memory contains information about yourself, and about personal experiences. Throughout this paper, we will refer to Conway and Pleydell-Pearce’s Self-Memory System (Conway and Pleydell-Pearce, 2000) to illustrate the reciprocal and intricate relationship between autobiographical memory and the self. It’s important that this life story is coherent and not merely a bundle of single narratives, since forming a coherent overall life story leads to feelings of purpose and meaning in life, and results in the formation of a continuous sense of self or personal identity (Kernberg, 1984; Antonovsky, 1985; McAdams, 1985; Habermas and de Silveira, 2008). More insight into the dynamics between memory coherence and psychopathology holds great potential for clinical practice (e.g., screening at-risk individuals, training memory coherence as treatment for certain disorders), but more research is needed. Cogn. (2017). Research specifically addressing the influence of overgeneral autobiographical memory on sense of self and identity development would be a valuable addition to these findings. doi: 10.1017/S0033291799008879, Stadelmann, S., Otto, Y., Andreas, A., von Klitzing, K., and Klein, A. M. (2015). Finally, autobiographical memory serves an adaptive function. Conversely, if an individual cannot make sense of an experience, and therefore cannot create a coherent narrative, this could disturb the emotional processing of the event, which could make retrieval of specific memories too threatening (Todd et al., 2013). A related explanation is the fact that the majority of studies used broadband screening instruments (i.e., instruments that look at a variety of psychological symptoms instead of focusing on a specific disorder) that do not differentiate between different types of internalizing symptoms, which may contribute to the inconsistent findings. They found that, compared to a healthy control group, depressed and suicidal individuals showed difficulty retrieving specific personal memories following emotional cue words (a paradigm that is now commonly referred to as the Autobiographical Memory Test or AMT). The editor and reviewers' affiliations are the latest provided on their Loop research profiles and may not reflect their situation at the time of review. An observer perspective was more prominent in false memories. [2], When the pattern of activation encompasses episodic memory, then autonoetic consciousness may result. Capture and rumination, functional avoidance, and executive control (CaRFAX): three processes that underlie overgeneral memory. (2003). My grandpa gave a beautiful speech, which made me very emotional. The result of this evaluation determines which experiences will be more likely to be encoded and later recalled by favoring personal events that are in accordance to one’s goals. J. doi: 10.1080/00207594.2011.596541, Fivush, R., Haden, C. A., and Reese, E. (2006). However, there are still some outstanding questions and inconsistencies regarding the association between memory coherence and psychopathology, which we will discuss in more detail below. Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes. 48, 614–625. However, a recent study by Beike et al. In the words of Katherine Nelson, autobiographical memory is "specific, personal, long-lasting, and (usually) of significance to the self-system. 71, 419–431. When asked to recall a specific memory following the cue-word ‘happy,’ someone who has a tendency to recall overgeneral memories would say for instance ‘Whenever I’m on vacation’ instead of giving a more specific answer like ‘I felt happy last Saturday night when I went to the movies with my best friend.’. Modifications include discussion of a … [21] One's sense of self is important in influencing whether autobiographical memories are recalled in the observer or field point of view. In accordance with this hypothesis, numerous studies report more incoherence (in the form of fragmentation and disorganization) in trauma memories of individuals with PTSD compared to healthy controls (e.g., Foa et al., 1995; Harvey and Bryant, 1999; Halligan et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2007; Kenardy et al., 2007; Jelinek et al., 2009, 2010; Salmond et al., 2011; or see Brewin, 2014 for a review). Professionals such as therapists, police and lawyers must be aware of the malleability of memory and be wary of techniques that might promote false memory generation. Rev. Repeated ruminating can result over time in the development of overgeneral autobiographical memory. Research also seems to suggest that memory coherence can act as a buffer against the impact of negative life experiences. (1992). 126, 748–769. J. 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